Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: tazdevil-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 01 Aug 2003 09:31 PDT
Expires: 31 Aug 2003 09:31 PDT
Question ID: 237809
What are the differences in capability and functionality between
Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes?
Subject: Re: Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes
Answered By: clouseau-ga on 01 Aug 2003 17:17 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello tazdevil,

Thank you for your question.

The following page talks about the cost of ownership of various
business messaging products:


"A study compares the per-user cost of ownership for messaging systems
and software from IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Sun.
How do some of the most commonly used messaging platforms compare in
per-user cost of ownership? A study from the Radicati Group looks to
answer that question.
In what the Radicati Group calls the first study to compare messaging
total cost of ownership (TCO) in the enterprise market for IBM Lotus
Notes and Domino 6, Microsoft Exchange 2000, Oracle Collaboration
Suite, and the Sun ONE Communications Platform, researchers determined
the three-year average "loaded messaging and collaboration TCO," which
includes the cost of the overall computing infrastructure (hardware
and software) needed to support messaging..."

You might find this data of interest.

Using Outlook in a business environment is only one component of a
messaging, calendar, tasking solution. Exchange Server is the engine
that makes all of this work at the corporate level and needs to be
added into your equation for proper comparisons.

InfoWorld notes the following:

"Stronger than steel

Microsoft Exchange 2003 improves clustering, Web access, and wireless
By  P.J. Connolly  January 17, 2003    
UNLIKE ITS WINDOWS OS family or its Office suite, Microsoft's Exchange
Server is not an inescapable fact of life. After all, if one is merely
looking for e-mail delivery, it's hard to compete with the simplicity
of a Linux box running sendmail. But when you find yourself in need of
calendaring, task management, and other group-work functions, your
choices narrow to the Big Three of integrated collaboration
environments. Enterprises adopt these higher-end
messaging-plus-workflow products to help smooth basic business
processes, particularly the human interaction critical to the working

There's actually an interesting parallel to Detroit's Big Three in
their heyday: IBM's Lotus products are the Ford of the lot -- they
were there first, but allowed nimbler and better-promoted competition
to seize market momentum. GroupWise from Novell reminds us of Chrysler
-- occasionally innovative, but constantly in danger of being squeezed
out by the inexorable laws of finance. That leaves Exchange in the
role of General Motors -- bland, inwardly focused, and concerned that
the competition might die off, leaving the company vulnerable to
antitrust watchdogs..."

And Microsoft itself will be happy to offer up comparisons against
their competing products:

Windows Server System

This page offers many links, including the InfoWorld above and:

Competitive Comparisons to Exchange 

Find out why Microsoft provides a better solution than competitors for
a wide range of your messaging, collaboration, and other business
computing needs.
Exchange 2000 and Lotus Notes/Domino

Learn how Exchange 2000 surpasses Lotus Notes/Domino R5 by reading
these white papers, comparisons, and independent studies.

Exchange Advantages 
Get Innovative Virus Security from Outlook 
Lotus iNotes Web Access and Domino Offline Services 
Following the first link will bring you to a number of white papers,
tools and resources.

Although biased, of course, towards the Microsoft products, these
links should prove very informative for you.

LotusAdvisor will paint the picture from their point of view:

This page compares the products from their slant:


Reality Check: IBM Lotus Notes/Domino and Microsoft Outlook/Exchange 

Ignore the misinformation surrounding the marketing war between Lotus
and Microsoft. Keep your eye on what's really important: the products.

By Terrance A. Crow, Technical Editor 
A recent Forbes article declared Lotus Notes is on the decline,
quickly losing market share to Microsoft Exchange. The author cited a
handful of corporations that chose Exchange instead of Notes for
e-mail, and concluded Notes must be an inferior platform. It bothers
me that the author compared Exchange to Notes. He based his
conclusions on a faulty definition, and broadcasted an uniformed
opinion about technology to a non-technical audience.

Leveling the playing field

Lotus Notes and Domino offer a ton of functionality in a tidy package.
Notes and Domino offer a mail system; an object-based data store with
a strong, flexible feature set for developers; a workflow management
platform; the ability to create cross-platform, distributed
applications; and replication capabilities. But that's not all. Domino
is a powerful, scalable Web server with integrated database management
and advanced security. Notes offers a Web UI development environment
that includes tools to build highly interactive and secure Web sites.
Not many people think of it this way, but Notes also includes a
built-in queuing system via mail-in databases. Notes and Domino
features easily integrate with each other--adding e-mail to Web forms
is a breeze, and building data-driven Web forms is nothing special for

Any comparison of the Lotus/IBM solution to a Microsoft solution needs
to take all these features into account. So, stopping the comparison
at Exchange guarantees the analysis is incomplete--dangerously so. You
have to compare Lotus Notes 5.0 to a combination of Microsoft Internet
Information Server (IIS) 4.0, Visual Studio 6.0, Exchange Server 5.5,
SQL Server 7.0, Message Queue (MSMQ) 2.0, and Systems Management
Server. Any price comparison needs to include all these products,
except IIS 4.0 and MSMQ because both are free with Windows NT..."

You will want to read the entire article. 

And at IBM, another collection of White Papers and comparisons can be

Competitive info 

Compare the benefits of Lotus Notes and Domino to the competition
through detailed market data, including white papers, analysis,
product review and Webcasts.
The first link falls strongly into the Lotus camp, not unexpectedly:

"Don't Bother Migrating from Notes/Domino to Exchange
Ferris Research reports Lotus Notes and Domino to be the solution to
all your messaging, calendaring and collaborative application needs."

Its a brief, one page .pdf file available here:

You'll find more like this at the above mentioned IBM page.

I then set off to find independent opinions for you. One site I will
often visit for almost anything technology based is ExpertsExchange,
and they did not let me down once again:

"I run a Lotus Notes Domino system for about 100 users.  We use it for
email.  Our corporate office and some local users want to go to
Outlook / Exchange.  Do any one have any opinions, pros/cons of making
the switch?...

Although only one reply, it has some interesting thoughts:

...My opinion is Outlook is a better end user email client it uses MS
terminology and has the look most users are used to. Outlook is more
vulnerable to viruses etc until active scripting etc is disabled.

Notes on the other hand is a more complete messaging system it can be
used to build custom apps for messaging reporting and general
corporate communication.

I think if your not using Domino designer etc... Then the switch over
will be relatively painless. Most users probably use some form of
outlook for there home email so it's a lot easier training wise then
going the other way.

Anyways good luck with whatever route you take."

Instant messaging Planet has a recent article on improvements imminent
in Lotus Notes:

"Lotus Sametime Takes Notes
April 29, 2003    By Christopher Saunders

The upcoming version of IBM (Quote, Company Info) Lotus' Notes e-mail
and collaboration client will include a new level of integration with
Big Blue's instant messaging software -- a move that's in keeping with
the recent trend among the big players in enterprise software.

Lotus Notes/Domino 6.5, slated to ship in third quarter and now
available in beta, embeds presence and instant messaging information
from Lotus Sametime throughout more of the product than it had

In large part, the changes obviate the need to have both Notes and the
Sametime Connect client open and running simultaneously. Most
conspicuously, the system will support a single login for both Notes
and Sametime.

Since version 6.0, Notes has supported viewing other Sametime users'
availability in its e-mail module. By clicking on the "Who is Online"
button within an e-mail, Notes users can see whether a message's
sender and receivers are online and available to chat. They then can
initiate either a one-to-one IM session, or a group chat, with either
option launching the Sametime Connect IM client.

In the new version, Notes will show senders and cc'd users'
availability in e-mails without requiring recipients to press a
button. Instead, users' names will be accompanied by Sametime icons
representing various states of users' availability. Additionally,
workers will be able to initiate instant messaging sessions by
clicking on users' highlighted names. The Notes e-mail inbox will show
users' presence information for the first time..."

The article continues to tout more new features and improvements in
the upcoming build.

Network Computing seems fond of Lotus Notes in this article:

though it is a bit dated.

CNET Reviews on Lotus Notes 6.0 is 88% positive:

Comments range from:

"Best collaborative platform around" Jon C on 12-Dec-2002 05:12:00 AM

Lotus has done a phenomenal job with UI tweaks and new functionality
with this release, including pushing more tasks to execution in the
background while the user can do other things. Auto-coloring of inbox
contents is a nice touch...


..."Only Gates geeks think Outlook/Exchange is better ..." 
The Truth Teller about Redmond ... on 12-Dec-2002 11:12:00 PM
if you REALLY think Outlook/Exchange is better than Notes/Domino, you:
* have a shrine to bill gates in your cubicle * you are a microsoft
employee * you think viruses are a good thing * you think Microsoft
licensing fees are "reasonable" * you think the security problems with
microsoft problems "are no big deal" * you pretend that IBM "is no
longer a player" * you think Bill Gates should made "Secretary of
Information", all american citizens will be required to pay to be in
"net", and that the United States should be renamed "Gatesland" ..."

Nice to read objective opinions, eh? But it is interesting to see that
there are folks who rapidly defend Notes over Microsoft, and do have
valid points. But the vulnerabilities would not be so widely exploited
in Microsoft products if they were not so widely used and understood
by the IT community. So indeed, this is a double edged sword and only
you can decide which camp to invest your time, energy and dollars

There are numerous pages of feature lists, opinions, announcements,
cost of ownership opinions etc available for both products as you
continue to search. Here are a few more I found thought provoking:

"Lotus Domino - Should You Upgrade or Migrate, Now or Later?
October 25, 2002
By Jacqueline Emigh

IBM's new Lotus Notes/Domino 6.0 contains myriad features for better
administration and usability. Yet if you're planning an upgrade from
Release 5.x -- or a migration from Microsoft Exchange, for instance --
is it better to go ahead now, or to wait for a while? Analysts see
advantages to either approach.

"R6 is a very healthy upgrade. It offers the usability and scalability
we've been waiting for since 5.x., and it takes care of the major
things we were concerned about," maintains Joyce Graff, vice president
and research director at Gartner Group.

In the heated battle between Notes and Exchange, Microsoft has been
trying to lure away Lotus users through mechanisms such as Microsoft
Application Analyzer, a new software product for planning migrations
to Exchange.

Notes/Domino R6, however, heightens certain advantages that Lotus
already held over Exchange anyway, in the opinion of some analysts. In
fact, some Exchange customers will leave Microsoft Outlook on the
desktop, while transitioning to Lotus as the server engine, according
to Jasmine Noel, who is principal at JNoel Associates..."

A good comparison here on much earlier versions of the product, should
historical information be a value to you:

"have recently received many questions about the differences between
Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange. Frequently, the tone of these
questions  indicates that the person wants assurance that Exchange is
comparable to Notes in depth and breadth of functionality. To show
that this is not the case, I have prepared the table at right showing
the  Microsoft products that would be required to equal the
functionality of the single Notes product. I should point out that
presenting the products in this fashion is not a fair comparison,
since the Microsoft products exist in relative isolation, requiring a
Visual Basic programmer having knowledge of all the products to cobble
together a solution that would still not be as robust as Notes. Notes
out-of-the-box functionality is remarkable, and Lotus is moving ahead
rapidly  with further developments. Already, Lotus has announced two
new releases of Notes for 1997. This is on top of three Notes releases
in 1996, culminating with Notes 4.5 and the renamed Domino server..."

Again, a few years old, but valuable are the articles here from 
Windows Net Magazine:

August 2000   [Features]  
Notes and Domino under Windows 2000 

Learn what Win2K functionality and features Notes and Domino offer.  —
Libby Ingrassia Schwarz

March 17, 2000   [NT News] 
Lotus Notes Outships Exchange Server in 1999 

In a year of tremendous growth, Lotus Notes outshipped Microsoft
Exchange Server by 3 million seats in the fourth quarter of 1999,
according to Messaging Online. This surge in shipments puts Notes
about 1.8 million seats ahead of Exchange for 1999.  — C. Thi Nguyen

More links, of course, on that page.

Also interesting to note that Outlook will sync with PocketPC's and
although Notes will as well, it will require third party software

As you can see, you will find proponents for either solution. If you
investigate the links above further, you will be able to uncover not
only opinions, but subtleties in the products that will allow you to
differentiate them even further.

Search Strategy:

compare +outlook +"lotus notes"

I trust my research has provided you with links, articles and opinions
that show the differences between these products. . If a link above
should fail to work or anything require further explanation or
research, please do post a Request for Clarification prior to rating
the answer and closing the question and I will be pleased to assist


tazdevil-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy